When you find your interest, you will sit like a cat watching a mouse hole.

Life has changed for most of us. We spend a lot of time wanting to get back to “normal” which is the past and will always be our past. It seems to be human nature to think about the past when we experience change. When we are sick, we want to be well. When we are not working, we want to work. When we are not in school, we want to go to school, etc.

I get it. In fact, I have studied it and understand the way it works. Can you see how it distracts us from being present in the moment?

People say they can’t think straight. I’m not sure what they mean but I think they are saying they don’t have a goal or focus of attention. They don’t have an identified interest which could anchor their thoughts. It feels like popcorn thinking. Pop! I need to get online. Pop! My hair needs cutting. Pop! I haven’t checked my email. Pop! Do I have enough money? Pop! Pop! Pop!

Stop the pop!

Read these suggestions slowly and out loud.

1. Identify your interests. If you can’t think of any, keep reading.

Interests. Not a fancy word but a powerful word. Interests are things that bring you pleasure, motivate you to think and take action. Interests tend to fall by the wayside when we spend our lives working and vegging out in front of a TV or phone. We say we don’t have time. But, we do. Take the time you have and focus on your interests.
If you say you don’t have any interests, think back to childhood. What did you like to play? What was your favorite toy? What is the grown-up version? If you watch TV, is there a favorite show that sparks your interests in some way? Although, we don’t want to rely on someone or something to dictate our interests, even if you have a million channels to choose from, you’re not interested in all of them. We choose a few.

In the same way, you don’t have to have a million interests. A few will do as long as it is YOUR interest and not your child’s interest or your friend’s interest. Your mind tunes in and will show you your interests.

Try this: Take a walk with a friend and see what you/friend notice. It won’t be the same. One will notice colored rocks and the other birds. Our brains are different. Sure, we can switch our focus but are we interested in doing that? I can help my friend look for colored rocks, but I am not interested enough to make it my hobby.

But, a seed could be planted so that in a year or two, I start noticing colored rocks and collecting them. Things and interests change. Some interests never change. They last a lifetime. My father was interested in airplanes. I have his grade school textbook. He drew airplanes all through the book. As a young man, he took flying lessons and loved it but his mother, after losing her other son, was so scared he would crash and die that he gave it up. He would go to airports and watch the planes land and take off. He watched war movies featuring planes. His interest in airplanes lasted all his life.

2. Imagine a teen-ager playing video games. Their focus is intense, like a cat looking at a mouse hole. You have this in you, too. Spend some time every day sitting like a cat looking at a mouse hole. That means focusing on your interest, expecting an outcome, not leaving or abandoning your interest.


Use this writing prompt to explore your interests.
I used to be interested in…..
Now, I am interested in…

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For more personalized help with focusing on selfcare, please consider coaching or therapy. https://patriciabrawleyphdlpc.fullslate.com/

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Patricia Brawley maintains a therapy and consulting practice and is a university professor. She has always been deeply interested in mind-body interaction, health psychology, creativity, consciousness and dreams. She is strongly influenced by mindfulness meditation practice, Buddhist philosophy, yoga, and humanistic values and beliefs.

Dr. Brawley is an independent scholar and researcher with an interest in phenomenological thought and methodology. She has presented professional papers at national and international conferences across the United States, Canada, Japan, Italy, Finland, and Russia.

She is a member of the American Psychological Association, the American Counseling Association, the International Association of Eating Disorders Professionals, American Mental Health Counselors Association, the Mississippi Licensed Professional Counselors Association, the Mississippi Counselors Association, the Mississippi Psychological Association and the International Human Science Research organization.

Dr. Brawley, a published author, enjoys writing and leading writing groups. She lives in McComb, Mississippi with her husband and cats, Harryboo and Sasha.